Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson

Question for all you writers out there

8 Comments

My laptop is four and a half years old, so it’s time for a new box before this one dies and takes everything with it. (Yes, I have everything backed up. I like redundancy in computers.)

Here’s my question, and I only put it out to you because I’m undecided: Mac (probably a MacBook Air) or a Windows-based PC?

I’m really not a fan of what I’ve seen of Windows 8, but everything I have is Windows-based. For writing I use Scrivener (available on both) and Word (available on both) and back up to Google Drive (platform doesn’t matter). I also do a lot with photos and have some editing software here on the laptop.

So I’m looking for your experience-based advice. What would you recommend, and why?

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Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

8 thoughts on “Question for all you writers out there

  1. I’m not sure if I should recuse myself. I hate Mac with a fiery passion primarily because it does not work the way I do and gets in the way. For me.

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  2. I changed from an ancient Windows desktop which belonged to my brother, to a Mac Pro laptop (together with a Dell 27″ monitor for photo work) Oct 2012. I totally relied on my brothers who were often overseas on business, when I had computer probs & crashes.

    I am what you could say ‘technology challenged’ so I was determined to buy my own computer and set it up myself. I had a bit of trouble setting up the internet and on taking it to the nearest office of my internet provider, it turned out that there was a minor issue (with the provider which was not up to date with the latest Mac – believe it or not, they had to to a fix on every new Mac purchaser). I also needed help from the Apple Helpdesk to set up the backup ‘Time Machine’ I bought, but that’s what I paid 3 years access to Apple’s Helpdesk for – so I could be independent of my busy brothers.

    Basically, within 24 hours I had set everything up myself and was up & running oct 2012. I love the resolution of the screen & speed of the Mac (the Dell monitor I’d had attached to my old Windows desktop for a while anyway, so that was just ‘plugged in’ to the Mac).

    I deliberately bought the Mac Pro so I could use it for watching dvds etc (in case my large tv screen died and I couldn’t afford to replace it. The Mac Air doesn’t have that CD slot of course.

    I couldn’t transfer my old windows word & excel spreadsheets across so I just plug in the old 2 TB backup drive to use & print them – no problem at all.

    The only thing I regret is that I only have 500gb storage on my little Mac Pro. so I have left most of my old 50,000+ photos on my old Back-up drive (if I want to use/access an old photo).

    I love the way my new Mac ‘Time Machine’ works remotely and automatically backs up every hour on the day (whether i have the computer on or not).

    Yes, there are some things I can’t do the old way on the Mac, but that’s more because I haven’t bothered to learn or use every part of the new Mac, not because the Mac can’t do it. I have a short term memory problem anyway.

    I read where Microsoft have been very disappointed with the sales of the latest Windows 8 and I notice they’ve been pushing the Ads on tv really hard to try & get more sales.

    Changing to a Mac was the best thing I ever did. As to whether you could transfer Windows files over to a Mac, probably not (from my limited experience), but the Mac sure is easy to use.

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    • Thank you so much for the comment. I always liked the intuitive design on a Mac. The Windows laptop I’m looking at doesn’t have a CD drive, but we have an external one I can use if I ever need it. I watch fewer and fewer movies on my laptop anyway (although if I was doing a lot of screen capturing I’d definitely want one). I’m lucky in that I have all my photos backed up, so they’re accessible when I want them.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. People seem to be fairly polarized. They either love or hate Windows boxes, and they either love or hate Apple boxes. I’m really not sure one is inherently better than the other, but I’ve been a Microsoft customer long enough to resent some of their business practices and corporate ethics. Maybe Apple is exactly the same — people who despise Apple do it with a pretty relentless venom — but all I really care about is having a nice light portable computer that won’t let me down. I’m hard on keyboards, so I need something that’s going to either last or have good long-term service. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t describe Dell.

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      • I will say I think the polarization is more the way you think. For example: Mac is so unintuitive for me, I almost wanted to scream trying to figure out how to rename a file today. And I’m a power-user on computers. But then, Word (pre-ribbon) is so extraordinarily out-of-my-way for me that I never understood other people’s complaints about it.

        Scrivener is extremly unintuitive, clunky, and get-in-the-way to me. After a huge amount of customization though, the power more than makes up for it. Liquid Story Binder that many complain as having a steep learning curve is the Windows alternative to Scrivener. I learned it in five minutes, it was so easy for me.

        If you think the way the Mac thinks, you’ll love it. If you think the way Windows thinks, you’ll love that. If you are easily adaptable, it doesn’t much matter. If you want to make the computer work the way you do, Windows is better but at the rate they are heading towards Mac style, they won’t keep that advantage for long. I’m in the last camp. I need total customizability. Windows gives me that. Mac, for that, is a pain.

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        • I’m one of those easily adaptable types. I’ve worked on both and have no problem adjusting to either. The demands I make on my computers are pretty simple: work and do what I tell you to do, little keyboard-with-a-box attached. I’ve been a QA engineer for PC-based systems and a tech writer using Mac-based systems, so I’m sure I can be fluent in either.

          I do understand loving or hating one or the other. I’m a big believer that whatever works for any given person is the right machine for them. I want something light, portable, and that boots up fast. I mostly use it write and take care of my photographs. I know that Mac systems have the edge for photo and graphics work, and they run even with PCs in my mind on word processing. So that explains my indecision, but it’s not indifference. My laptop needs and usage have changed over the years so I really want to find my niche of comfort with today’s needs instead of yesterday’s. I’m going to go look at Macs, and if I can’t figure them out in the first five minutes of play, I’ll stick with a PC. That said, I recently got an iPhone and loved it and its interface instantly. I had no regrets about leaving my formerly beloved BlackBerry in the dust. I might feel the same way about my laptop, but if I don’t, it’s okay with me.

          Long story short: I’m not an elitist in either direction.

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  3. We say Mac. Steve has been very happy with the MacBook Pro (15″) with SSD HD that he bought earlier this year. He thinks the retina display is pretty darn cool, too. I use our 7 year old MacBook so my opinion isn’t very helpful. I’m not terribly computer savvy but have always found the Macs to be more intuitive, too.

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